Nintendo’s rush of news yesterday was definitely an interesting one. Accounts system, new hardware and it’ll all be integrated with the Club Nintendo successor. And while this is all stuff that remains to be seen, I’m still very excited to see where it will head.
However, the one thing I noticed that people seemed to pick on the most was that we were going to see Nintendo’s IPs on mobile platforms. Unfortunately, a lot of the discussion was just jokes, at both the expense of Nintendo, and mobile games in general. “Pay $5 for more jumps for Mario!” and such. And it really got me thinking of how crazy games seem to jump from one gimmick to the next.
Not that long ago, mobile gaming was seen as the future, or at least a field capable of extreme of expansion. Cheap $1-2 games, and a rapidly growing and evolving platform seemed to be a great place to get your ideas out there, or to make a quick buck. Pretty soon, the quick buck turned to a microtransaction focused market, and our view of mobile gaming went from a great place to start out as a game developer, to an overcrowded store, where to make a profit, you need to nickle and dime your audience.
Also not that long ago, if not around the same time, the Nintendo 3DS released to lukewarm reception, and poor sales. “Nintendo should focus on mobile gaming” or “The 3DS can’t compete with the bustling field of mobile gaming in the handheld market” were two common discussions I saw on social media, and among friends. But before long, Nintendo turned the 3DS around with a price drop, and a few amazing years of stellar games that were actually worth the ‘premium’ price tag.
Notice that shift in both fields? How we make our collective minds up on how a particular product or field will perform, only to be proven wrong over time. If anything ,we should learn from this, and just wait and see how this will play out. Even Iwata stated that the successes of mobile games are few and far between, as a reason why Nintendo held off on the entire area. They’re aware of what they’re getting into, and that they need the help to explore this new market.
So before you explode on Twitter and say Nintendo are dumb for making this decision, just take a deep breathe, and think. All of this has the potential to be great for Nintendo, and maybe even innovation in gaming in general. Or maybe, yes, it will go down the toilet like all the doomsayers are expecting. But only time will tell.
Let’s just hope it’s good.